Never Insult a Killer Zucchini

bookshelves: winter-20152016, dec-2015-free-for-all, e-book, net-galley, published-2016, sciences

Read on November 30, 2015

Description: When Mr. Farnsworth, the science-fair judge, declares that he loves zucchinis, the Killer Zucchini is smitten. As the judge makes his way through the exhibits alphabetically—A (antimatter), B (bionic limb), C (cloning)—the Killer Zucchini tries to show his affection. But when Mr. F gets to K and admits he likes to eat zucchini with ranch dressing, the Killer Zucchini gets steamed and attempts to exact his revenge on the snack-loving judge using the other science-fair projects as his means to an end.

Crazy ABC of science: first the pictures then some facts about each entry at the rear. Fun.

Eye of the Drone (#2 Wild Cats, Around the Globe with Suki & Finch)

Description: Suki and Finch arrive in Moscow on a cold winter’s day. Following a setback they finally travel east to look for Eurasian Lynx and Siberian Tigers. Parts of the Russian forest are being destroyed by illegal logging. Suki and Finch devise a plan to protect the trees – home to the cats and other wild animals. Their activities attract the attention of K-POG, the transnational company who wants global domination of all forests. K-POG has spent billions on surveillance, including satellites and armies of drones. Will Suki and Finch be able to escape detection? Will they be able to continue their quest to protect wild cats and their forest homes? This 8 volume series uses 3D digital characters inserted into stunning hi-res, on-location, pics.

Russian Blue

Donskoy is a furless Russian cat

Eurasian Lynx

Arctic Fox

Siberian tiger

Snow Leopard


Asiatic Golden Cat

Red Panda

Przewalksi wild horses

Mongolian steppe camels

Pallas’s cat

Uncle Wiggily’s Auto Sled

bookshelves: gutenberg-project, published-1927, kiddlewinks, autumn-2015, snow-times, e-book

Recommended for: Sylvester’s Squirt!
Read from November 26 to 27, 2015


Title: Uncle Wiggily’s Auto Sled or How Mr. Hedgehog Helped Him Get Up the Slippery Hill and How Uncle Wiggily Made a Snow Pudding. Also What Happened in the Snow Fort

Opening: One day Uncle Wiggily Longears took Nurse Jane Fuzzy Wuzzy for an auto ride. “I suppose a sleigh ride would be more stylish,” spoke Uncle Wiggily, “but I have no cutter.” Nurse Jane said the auto would suit her very well, and away they went. But soon they came to the bottom of a steep and slippery hill. “Will the auto go up?” asked Nurse Jane. “Oh, I guess so,” answered Uncle Wiggily, but it did not. The wheels slipped and skidded.

Oh this was lovely, and the baddies (Pipsisewah & Skeezicks) get their suitably timely just desserts. Curl up with a wee one this mid-winter.

The Journey of the Penguin by Emiliano Ponzi

bookshelves: published-2015, autumn-2015, art-forms, books-about-books-and-book-shops, kiddlewinks, hardback, paper-read, penguins-puffins-boobies, name-droppers

Recommended to Bettie☯ by: Laura
Read from November 17 to 26, 2015


Description: To celebrate 80 years of Penguin Books, a charming picture book that tells the imagined story of the penguin who waddled his way into history as the symbol of a beloved publisher

A lonely Antarctic penguin, dreaming of adventure, sets off on a long swim north. Arriving at last in London in 1935, he encounters the chance of a lifetime: auditions are on to find the face of a brand new publishing house. The penguin wins, of course, and so begins an adventure that takes him on to New York and into the hearts of readers around the world.

In The Journey of the Penguin, award-winning graphic artist Emiliano Ponzi delivers a boldly illustrated, wildly imaginative, and terrifically fun story—told entirely through image—that brings to life the “dignified yet flippant” bird chosen eighty years ago by Allen Lane as the name and icon of his revolutionary publishing business. With cameo appearances by legendary Penguin authors including Jack Kerouac, Arthur Miller, and Dorothy Parker, this exquisite, one-of-a-kind book celebrates the enduring appeal of storytelling.

Found by Brazilliant, who sent this link. Thankee

The Accidental Mind: How Brain Evolution Has Given Us Love, Memory, Dreams, and God by David J. Linden


Description: You’ve probably seen it before: a human brain dramatically lit from the side, the camera circling it like a helicopter shot of Stonehenge, and a modulated baritone voice exalting the brain’s elegant design in reverent tones.

To which this book says: Pure nonsense. In a work at once deeply learned and wonderfully accessible, the neuroscientist David Linden counters the widespread assumption that the brain is a paragon of design–and in its place gives us a compelling explanation of how the brain’s serendipitous evolution has resulted in nothing short of our humanity. A guide to the strange and often illogical world of neural function, The Accidental Mind shows how the brain is not an optimized, general-purpose problem-solving machine, but rather a weird agglomeration of ad-hoc solutions that have been piled on through millions of years of evolutionary history. Moreover, Linden tells us how the constraints of evolved brain design have ultimately led to almost every transcendent human foible: our long childhoods, our extensive memory capacity, our search for love and long-term relationships, our need to create compelling narrative, and, ultimately, the universal cultural impulse to create both religious and scientific explanations. With forays into evolutionary biology, this analysis of mental function answers some of our most common questions about how we’ve come to be who we are.

Sheeit – here we have an author who thinks he’s funny yet he truly is not, this is going to be a slog to get through…

LATER: I blanked out the ‘style’, concentrated on just-the-facts-ma’am and became fully engaged.

AT THE END – I thought Linden put over fact that the brain is not a great construction well, which shoots the intelligent design acolytes out of the water. The profligate brain as ice-cream cone with three scoops: neat analogy.

A Family Affair by Michael Dobbs

bookshelves: autumn-2015, play-dramatisation, radio-4, historical-fiction, politics

Recommended to Bettie☯ by: Laura
Recommended for: BBC Radio Listeners
Read on November 24, 2015

Description: On 22nd November 1990, following dissention in the Conservative ranks and an equivocal leadership ballot, Margaret Thatcher made the dramatic decision to offer her resignation as prime minister. Michael Dobbs’ play follows Thatcher’s last traumatic days in power, seen from the perspective of her husband, Denis, and her family.

Margaret Thatcher …… Clare Higgins
Denis Thatcher …… Stephen Moore
Carol Thatcher …… Monica Dolan
Mark Thatcher …… William McGeogh
Bill …… Benjamin Whitrow
Sir Geoffrey Howe …… John McEnery
Anthony …… Kevin Doyle
Minister …… Sean Campion
Christine …… Sara Stewart

Rosamond Lehmann by Selina Hastings


Description: The life of Rosamond Lehmann was as romantic and harrowing as that of any of her fictional heroines. Escaping from a disastrous early marriage, Rosamond moved right into the heart of Bloomsbury society with Wogan Philipps. Later on she would embark on the most important love affair of her life, with the poet Cecil Day Lewis. Nine years later, he abandoned her for a young actress—a betrayal from which she would never recover.

Walter Leslie Runciman (1900-1989) and Rosamond Nina Lehmann. They married in 1923 and divorced 1927

Dora Carrington, Stephen Tomlin and Lytton Strachey

Rosamond and her brother John with Lytton

Ottoline Rosamond and Wogan

After nine years of living together very openly, Cecil dumped Rosamond to marry actress Jill Balcon

Brilliant Blunders: From Darwin to Einstein – Colossal Mistakes by Great Scientists That Changed Our Understanding of Life and the Universe by Mario Livio


Description: Drawing on the lives of five renowned scientists, Mario Livio shows how even these geniuses made major mistakes and how their errors were an essential part of the process of achieving scientific breakthroughs.We all make mistakes. Nobody is perfect. And that includes five of the greatest scientists in history—Charles Darwin, William Thomson (Lord Kelvin), Linus Pauling, Fred Hoyle, and Albert Einstein. But the mistakes that these great luminaries made helped advance science. Indeed, as Mario Livio explains, science thrives on error, advancing when erroneous ideas are disproven.

As a young scientist, Einstein tried to conceive of a way to describe the evolution of the universe at large, based on General Relativity—his theory of space, time, and gravity. Unfortunately he fell victim to a misguided notion of aesthetic simplicity. Fred Hoyle was an eminent astrophysicist who ridiculed an emerging theory about the origin of the universe that he dismissively called “The Big Bang.” The name stuck, but Hoyle was dead wrong in his opposition.

They, along with Darwin (a blunder in his theory of Natural Selection), Kelvin (a blunder in his calculation of the age of the earth), and Pauling (a blunder in his model for the structure of the DNA molecule), were brilliant men and fascinating human beings. Their blunders were a necessary part of the scientific process. Collectively they helped to dramatically further our knowledge of the evolution of life, the Earth, and the universe.

This went downhill, for the first third I was willingly going to give this a 3* minimum. By the end it had just become an effusive noise.

Re Darwin’s evolution: Relevent news article: Analysis: Antibiotic apocalypse

Time Regained & A Guide to Proust

bookshelves: fradio, radio-4x, published-1927, wwi, glbt, bdsm, autumn-2013, france, lit-richer, lifestyles-deathstyles, autumn-2015, re-visit-2015

Read from November 18, 2013 to November 23, 2015

Description: Paris is ravaged by the Great War. Marcel despairs at his own failures, but the simplest of discoveries awakens astonishing possibilities.
Stars James Wilby.

Revisiting, via BBC R4x, all the books in remembrance, our world has altered too.

Dinner by Moira Buffini

bookshelves: autumn-2015, play-dramatisation, radio-3, published-2002

Recommended to Bettie☯ by: Laura
Recommended for: BBC Radio Listeners
Read from November 22 to 23, 2015

Description: Moira Buffini’s outrageous comedy Dinner started life in the National Theatre’s Loft in 2002, and became her first West End smash. In this brand new production, adapted by the writer for Drama on 3, Harriet Walter returns to the role she created: Paige, the hostess and architect of an evening which her guests will never forget. Two other original leads, Nicholas Farrell and Penny Downie, and four new cast members, join her in this viciously black chamber piece about appetite, which will make you think twice about ever accepting another invitation to dinner. Part of the BBC On Stage season.

Moira Buffini’s Olivier award-winning comedy about the relationship between the Queen and Margaret Thatcher, Handbagged, is currently on national tour, after the original Tricycle production directed by Indhu Rubasingham became a sell-out West End run. And her collaboration with Damon Albarn and Rufus Norris, the gaming musical, is about to open at the National Theatre, having headlined the Manchester International Festival this year. These, along with her screenplays for movies Jane Eyre (directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga), Tamara Drewe (directed by Stephen Frears) and Byzantium (directed by Neil Jordan), and her previous play for the National, the political fable Welcome to Thebes (directed by Richard Eyre), have all demonstrated Buffini’s appetite for political engagement, fast-moving wit, and a delight in satirising our own times.